The salespeople that you are unhappy with now made President’s Club last year. Up until recently—very recently—they were doing what was required and expected of them. For years, what they are doing now was the right thing to do, and no one ever told them otherwise.
While you are busy being unhappy with the fact that your people haven’t changed to meet your new requirements and expectations, they’re busy trying to figure out why everything has to be different now. You were both successful just a year ago doing things the way you had always done them.
You Broke the Contract
You are struggling to help your people change because you broke the original contract. Even if you expected more in the past, your acceptance of the prior performance is part of that contract. I’m not talking about a formal, paper contract. I am talking about the real contract, the unspoken agreements that you made with your people.
If you don’t believe that your sales force has the right to unilaterally change the contract, then you don’t have an absolute right to unilaterally change the contract either. This means that transformation requires a new contract. This means you need consent.
New Terms and New Conditions
If you need a new contract, you are going to have to explain why the new contract is necessary. You need to share those reasons, and you need to share what is at stake. If you are breaking one contract and replacing it with another, there needs to be a compelling reason why.
If the conditions of employment and the requirements of the role need to be modified, you are establishing a new contract. The truth of the matter is that the individual members of your sales force are free to accept or reject the new terms and conditions. I’m not writing about compensation or other pecuniary matters here; I am talking about their deal when it comes to what is expected of them.
New terms and new conditions have to be shared, sold, and agreed to.
Some Will Refuse a New Contract
There are some who were comfortable with the old contract and have no interest in a new contract. They’d rather leave than change what they’ve always done—and often been rewarded for—in the past. There are some who will pretend to accept the contract, only to violate the letter and the spirit. This is part and parcel of transformations.
That said, it is important to remember that you broke the contract and it is your job to win hearts and minds. It also means you need to remember that 1 comes before 2, and that transformation is 1,000 conversations and 10,000 actions. It’s a long game, and you have to play.
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Filed under: Psychology